ARThens - Where Coffee Meets Culture
If Athenians love one thing, that’s coffee — any time of day, any way you turn, you’ll see groups of people enjoying their daily caffeine dose with company. No hot summer’s day in Athens is complete without a refreshing freddo, and no bitter winter’s eve is bearable without a steaming mug of joe. But there’s another thing Athenians love as well, a love generating in antiquity, transforming and evolving, but never really changing; a love for art and culture. That’s why some savvy entrepreneurs made spaces dedicated to these two passions. Check out the places where caffeine and culture intersect to creat some of the best hangouts in the city:
six d.o.g.s. | Monastiraki
Six d.o.g.s is an absolute institution in the Athenian cultural scene. It’s a multi-faceted all-day venue, serving coffee in the morning, cocktails at night, amazing music and art throughout the day. Each year, six d.o.g.s hosts more than 500 events, ranging from techno parties to live gigs, art exhibitions and garden festivities. In the management’s own words, the place is “hyperactive.”
We love six d.o.g.s. for it’s garden oasis in the most bustling area of Athens. In a city choked by concrete construction, the venue’s expansive garden is a real breathe of fresh air. Step in and enjoy a cup of coffee in a relaxing setting, where the focus is on interaction. The garden boasts an “(almost) silent bar” culture, meaning the music is not the soundtrack to your life’s movie, but a gentle background filler.
Barrett | Psirri
Barrett is the place where Athens’ absolute hippest hipsters get together, and for good reason — the space is genuinely alternative. Another all-day venue, Barrett is housed in a building that dates back to the early 20th century, retaining it’s old charm, but also elevating it to new heights of cool. The walls are always decorated with contemporary art pieces from local artists, like photo essays, collages and paintings. Sometimes, you might even catch the artist themself sipping on a draft beer in the vicinity.
Stop by Barett in the morning for a hearty brew or some homemade lemonade, and browse unique pieces made by Athens’ young creatives. Currently, Barrett is hosting a drawing exhibition entitled Crotch, by local artist Jason Lambidis.
Poems & Crimes | Monastiraki
Poems & Crimes is another modern enterprise nestled in a 19th century home. Although the building is extensively renovated, plenty of trappings hint at a fascinating past; for example, the marble horse-feeding troughs remain intact. The space belongs to Gavrilides Publishing House, which has cleverly curated the space to simultaneously serve as a cafe-bar, restaurant, exhibition space and publisher’s. Poems & Crimes often hosts book signings, photography and painting exhibitions, live music, poetry readings, and more.
Spend a morning in the secret garden located in the back, over a good book and aromatic coffee. This is also a very peaceful place to study or work, complete with internet connection and plenty of snack options.
Booze Cooperativa | Monastiraki
Booze Cooperativa was born in the the late 80s, in what one could describe as a stroke of serendipity. In 1988, two friends, Nikos and Maroulia, were looking for a space to house the offices for a home restoration business they were opening. When they saw the spacious neoclassical building they joked about making it into a bar — 25 years later, Booze Cooperative is part of the larger Booze project, a 7.000 sqm. space housing multiple projects, from the Cooperativa bar, to the BaseGALLERY, hosting exhibitions, installations, and video art, to the Terminal Stage, which provides space for workshops, live acts, and screenings, and two more creative spaces besides.
Sit at the large communal table in the center of Booze Cooperativa and meet some of Athens most fascinating individuals over a frothy cappuccino and a game of chess; artists, writers, musicians, actors, vagabonds, anarchists, activists, and all sorts of wonderful weirdos hang out at Booze for the ubiquitous coffee-and-cigarette socializing. Beware: if you’re against smoking, Booze might be a rough experience — this multidimensional venue also acts as headquarters for K.O.T.E.S., a political party dedicated to resisting anti-smoking laws in Greece.
Art, coffee, colorful clientele, great conversation, and the occasional cigarette, constitute the ingredients for Athens’ vibrant cafe culture. Even if you don't pick one of the above cafes, the scene is sure to leave you satisfied, as you will definitely stumble upon some unique venue or other while you explore the city.